So much intrigue is happening now that the Knicks have hung them up for the season. This weekly series is here to help you keep track of it all.
Through one week, this is looking more like a Game of Thrones storyline than the beginning of an off-season rebuild, with so many characters moving up, down, or getting the proverbial axe.
The central figures to keep an eye on moving forward will be Phil Jackson, James Dolan, Carmelo Anthony, and whoever is named
the Hand of the King Head Coach.
1. Sounding Off
Exit Interview Day always provides a few good snippets to walk away with, but this one had an especially foreboding feeling, given the disappointing season, Carmelo’s pending free agency, and what was to become of Mike Woodson.
“I can’t afford another losing season”
“Phil Jackson’s knowledge and wisdom is something that I could sit down and listen to all day long”
Amare Stoudemire, who had said earlier that week that the Knicks were “the best team on paper” this season: “We had more vets last year that wouldn’t allow you to screw up [...] this year we didn’t have those guys”
Tyson Chandler, who complained both quietly and loudly at various points during the season: A lot around here is made of personnel. I don’t think that’s it. I personally think you have to bring a winning culture out here. Until that’s established, you can rotate players as much as you want, it’s not going to make a difference”.
2. Woodson & Staff Out
On Monday, Phil Jackson brought the axe down on Mike Woodson, surprising no one. Somewhat less expected was his firing of Woodson’s entire staff, but that’s not uncommon for a new regime to make “wholesale changes”.
3. Melo Reportedly Wants the “Dwight Treatment” in Free Agency.
This makes for a good headline, but the key thing to remember is that he “reportedly wants it” according to “a source”. You can’t find a quote from him anywhere saying that. It’s a small difference, but worth mentioning.
Either way, he definitely wants it and will get it. That means that the Knicks and a few other clubs will be doing their best Don Draper this summer in the boardroom, trying to sell their organizations to Melo as the one that will bring him happiness.
4. Oscar Robertson Thinks Melo Should Leave
The Big O lauded Melo’s skills and effort, and said that he gets too much of the blame when things go poorly. Robertson also doesn’t trust Phil Jackson and the Knicks to get Melo a championship. Who did he tell this to, you ask? None other than Spike Lee on Lee’s Sirius XM radio show.
We’ll probably hear from Magic Johnson, Bernard King, and maybe one or two more legends on what Carmelo should do before he makes his decision. The most intriguing opinion would be that of Michael Jordan, given Melo’s sneaker deal with Jordan, Jordan’s affinity for Melo, and Jordan’s obvious links to both Phil Jackson and Chicago. My guess is that his airness will stay mum, however.
5. Dolan Meddling?
Speaking of Phil, we’re one week into the offseason and there are already whispers that James Dolan is meddling in Phil Jackson’s operation. Specifically, the rumor is that Jackson wants to continue to deliver the axe from top to bottom, but Dolan has been putting up resistance to that in order to keep some of his preferred personnel around.
6. Phil’s Presser
Phil Jackson, to a packed room of media, “There is no news.”
— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) April 23, 2014
Except that he did suggest Melo take a pay cut. People have pointed out that “Phil didnt’ take a pay cut”, which is fair, but that’s really not comparable because that money comes from a different “pot” of James Dolan’s fortune.
Except that he did say that he’ll be talking with Steve Kerr, among other candidates that he has in mind for the recently vacant head coaching position.
Except that he all but guaranteed the Knicks will try to institute the Triange Offense next year.
Phil says “it’s surprising” to him how many ppl are interested in the job despite the fact that triangle will obviously be used next yr
— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) April 23, 2014
Except that with Phil, and with the Knicks, even no news is some news.
- Jalen Rose hinted that Phil Jackson would love to acquire Sean Livingston, who is not yet on the books for the Nets next season. The thinking is that he would thrive in the triangle offense. If that comes true, you heard it here first from me, who heard it on Grantland’s YouTube channel first from Jalen.
- Ray Felton due in court June 2nd. We’ll take a closer look as that date approaches.
- Carmelo’s son Kiyan celebrated his birthday on April 24th in a way few kids could (but every kid would want to): custom Jordans sent personally from…Jordan.